Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Making Do and Pinching Pennies

     The housewives of  yesteryear really knew how to pinch pennies.  I've always thought I could make a dollar stretch but those ladies make me look like a high-roller.  They really knew the true meaning of the term "make-do".
        For example, I love old linens and always have; however, as an antique dealer, I have a fresh appreciation of the Depression Era women.  
       Such thoughts were going through my mind the other day as I was ironing some vintage linens, readying them to go into the shops.  

     "Red work" embroidery, as on this table cover, was very popular in the late 1800s because the red embroidery thread, unlike other colors, was known to hold color.  The ladies decorated almost everything in their homes with embroidery, sometimes purchasing embroidery patterns but more often would copy or trace drawings from their children's books.  
     They embroidered dish towels, chair cushions, pillow cases - you get the idea.
     As colored embroidery thread became more reliable, their work became more colorful.  But, I digress:  We were talking about how thrifty these housewives were.
     A beautiful tablecloth was something to swoon over and was left out for daily use.  As the fabrics started to wear, patches were carefully and neatly sewn onto the cloth.  As the items became too frayed or worn to use, the cloth was then cut for re-use as another life.

     Oftentimes the lady would add a little fringe of crochet and convert a piece of the tablecloth to say, a doily or a pillowcase.   

     Sometimes larger items were simply monogrammed and hemmed and Mama's tablecloth would also become a dishtowel. 

      This was but a part of every day life, making do and pinching pennies.
       So, when I scrubbed this vintage tablecloth a bit too hard and the sun's rays did their part to further disintegrate part of it while it was outside drying...

     I knew I had to honor its history by somehow saving what is left of it and turn it into another useful item.  Any ideas?  (It remains folded in my laundry room)

      And that, my modern day readers, is only a small part of where the term "make do" came from.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sewing or Shopping?

     How many of you have a room devoted solely to sewing and/or crafts?  Mine is downstairs and is laden with supplies and projects that need to be finished or fixed.  You know it's bad when you have to walk sideways to get to your worktable.  No way am I showing a picture of the room in its present state.  Anyway, I've spent the last evenings trying to clean, sort, organize and yes, even throw away some things.  My eldest stepson has three little girls in his family and I'd like to make them semi-matching dresses for Christmas.  You know, make the same style dress and intermingle pockets, collars, tops, etc. for a cute but semi-matching look.
     Meanwhile, aside from my normal life trying to keep our booths well stocked in the antique shops, I've listed a few things on Etsy and Ebay.   This beautiful handcarved soapstone from the Orient just sold: 
The artist carved two areas for vases; the craftsmanship is phenomenal.

     This butcher sign showing beef cuts is still on Etsy:  
     Just click on the link below the picture if you want to take a closer look.
     And, on Ebay, we have this cool souvenir from a midwest brewery:

Funny little crow, huh?  Again, just click on the link if you want to take a look.  Christmas is less than three months away - I like to post unusual items online for those hard-to-please loved ones.

Thursday, October 2, 2014


      No, of course I'm not talking about myself, any of my friends from high school, or anyone else for that matter.  I'm talking about this:

It was so easy to put together and so darned inexpensive!  I made it from items I already had.

Started with this:

 You've probably seen a million of these.  Okay, maybe only half a million.  This one was a curbside find with broken wooden leaves, etc. on it.  It also had a "welcome" sign on it, which I kept for this project.

I gave it a light sanding, just enough to get some of the old glue and paint off.  Next came a light coat of Lowe's most inexpensive white paint.  Once dry, I applied an opaque acrylic stain that I found in a sale (auction) box lot.  Yes, I know - once it was cleaned up it had to be reworked to make it look a little dirty and worn again.  There is a big difference between real dirt and fake dirt.

Next came this guy.  He was a yard sale find.  His clothes are totally faded (so what? He's a scarecrow) and was kinda droopy but a little sprucing up with a glue gun was all he needed.  Oh, and his stand needed to be knocked off because it would have hung over the base of the fence.  

Finally, this vase with four fall floral stems (say that three times fast) would provide the final touches.  It was another $1 yard sale find.

I only used three of the stems; the fourth will be used for another future project and the vase already has a spot reserved in one of the shops we're in.  

So, for a little more glue gun work plus $2.00 and some change, this little guy will greet visitors coming into the Village Antiques and Home Decor mall in Bristol, Tn.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

I sat down to check out Facebook a few minutes ago and this is what I saw:
My son (who lives in Indiana) wearing a cast.  He has never before had a broken bone.  He and his family went camping this weekend and decided to go horseback riding when his horse suddenly decided to buck and threw him to the ground.  
     My daughter, just a few weeks ago, was lying in a Louisiana hospital bed suffering from a strange virus that could have killed her.  (I knew she was in the hospital but didn't know how bad things were when it was happening.)  Thank God she recovered.
     If you're a young parent and you think things will be sooo much easier when they grow up, well, let me just say you're wrong.  You will worry about your children as long as you are on this earth.  They may grow up but they are forever your children.

To all Fathers out there and to single moms who don't have adequate support, Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Time to Return

It's been over a year since I abandoned blogging.  Remember 
Old Time Me Artist aka Grinnin Gramma ?  Yes, that was and is me, just a busier me with vintage items, antiques and collectibles in six (yeah, count 'em, six!) different antiques shops and with the same husband, owned by the same pets, etc.  
     We have lots of changes planned for the future and I hope you will be along for the journeys.  
     Meanwhile, here are a few pictures of some of our shop items; I hope you enjoy looking:  

As for now, we're off to a couple of the shops; they all need some "fluffing".